There will be occasions when it will become necessary to eliminate positions due to reduced funding, changes in the nature and scope of the work and/or for other operational reasons that are a result of circumstances beyond the employee's control. If other employment possibilities at the Institution cannot be identified, such an action can result in terminating the employee from the Institution. This policy covers the factors that affect employees who will be terminated in these circumstances and details the guidelines for the notification process to be followed, including the level of advance notice.
This policy does not address, nor should it replace, the termination guidelines that should generally be followed in cases where employees are being terminated due to performance reasons, or who voluntarily resign. (See Progressive Disciplinary Action for those guidelines.) This notice policy will also not replace the current Institution Policy entitled "Use of Institution Resources for Research Staff Support: A statement of Policy and Practice", dated March 22, 1993 nor is it intended to substitute for salary bridge support, which connotes an on-going employment relationship.
Notice provision guidelines are intended to assist the supervisor in preparing for job terminations and in communicating these preparations to the affected employees. As with other Institution policies, these are not contracts, but instead are guidelines to assist supervisors and managers. When full advance notice cannot be provided or is otherwise considered to be unsuitable, the salary portion of the remainder of the notice period will be provided as a lump sum. Pay in lieu of notice is supported with limited Institution overhead funds. Therefore, managers and supervisors are urged to review their staffing and work needs on a regular basis so affected employees can be given adequate notice instead of relying on pay in lieu of notice.
In all cases, Human Resources is available to work with employees, supervisors and managers to ensure that all Institution resources, services and support programs are being used with due consideration for Institution and employee needs.
Positions identified for elimination are dictated by the Institution's judgment about the work to be concluded and/or reassigned and the range of skills and competencies of the employees engaged in performing those jobs.
Principal Investigators, Administrative Managers and other individuals with supervisory responsibilities should weigh these skill factors in addition to length of service and departmental needs in identifying the positions to be eliminated. While no one consideration outweighs the other, each should be judged and balanced in such a way as to attempt to be sensitive to the employee affected while also serving the department/unit's needs.
Human Resources must be involved in the consideration leading up to these decisions. In many cases, efforts will be made to locate other employment and/or provide job training within the Institution for these employees. Advance involvement of and assistance from both Human Resources and the Institution's Ombuds/EEO Office are critical during this process.
Supervisors/managers must communicate termination decisions in writing to the affected employees, in direct consultation with the Human Resources Manager. The notification letter will state the amount of notice being provided. It will be made clear that the employee is expected to carryout his/her regular duties during this period and that reasonable time will be available to seek positions at the Institution or elsewhere.
If the employee begins regular employment outside the Institution during the notice period, the notice provisions will cease.
The notice provisions apply to Institution employees in regular full or regular part-time status. Because their work schedules routinely fluctuate due to the vagaries or each ship's schedule, marine crew members are not covered by this policy.
Guidelines for Notice Periods
The guidelines noted below are generally intended to be minimums.
When full advance notice cannot be provided or is otherwise considered to be unsuitable, the general policy is to provide pay in lieu of salary that would otherwise have been paid during the balance of the notice period. Pay in lieu of notice is typically made as a lump sum and will appear on the employee's final paycheck, along with all accrued vacation time.
Pay in lieu of notice is authorized by the Human Resources Manager and paid from the services/HR account. Pay in lieu of notice arrangements will be communicated in writing by the Human Resources Manager to the affected employee, with a copy to the supervisor.
Job assistance resources and services are available within the Institution, through Human Resources, the Education Office, and the Ombuds/EEO Office, among others. Supervisors and managers are urged to explore these avenues as part of their notice provisions for terminating employees.
There are occasions when the Institution may consider providing support for the services of an Outplacement agency to aid the terminating employee in locating new employment.
In determining whether to provide Outplacement services to a terminating employee and if so, how much, the Institution will consider a number of factors, including the notice provisions for the terminating employee, the employee's length of service and position within the Institution.
Outplacement applicability and support are administered by the Human Resources Manager, in consultation with the appropriate Department Chair or Administrative Manager. Should there be disagreement about the level and amount of Outplacement support, the appropriate Associate Director and/or Director will be consulted.
Employees facing potential job loss should consult with their Human Resources Representative as soon as possible to make arrangements for continuation of benefits, if appropriate, and to initiate other steps in the check-out process, including:
Termination Procedures and Alternative Employment Efforts
Institution termination procedures may coincide and overlap with other activities that may be on-going in efforts to obtain other Institution employment for the employee.